Milton Keynes Council is on the search for more potential foster carers in the local area. Simon and Jonathan, MK based foster carers, explain their journey in the hope it will inspire others to follow suit…
My partner and I came from busy homes with large families and a really supportive environment. We felt that fostering was our opportunity to give something back.
We’ve been fostering for over five years and have built some incredible relationships in that time.
We started out offering short-term care but now provide long-term care for a brother and sister. You hear all kinds of things about the rewards of fostering but some people don’t realise it’s totally different to bringing up your own children.
Every child who comes into foster care has a unique situation and some of these kids have no one at all. Some will have come from homes with no boundaries and so instilling rules to keep them safe can be tough at first.
Getting them used to family life, even basic things like sitting down for a meal, can feel alien to them. Because of this, it’s important to do what you can to make children feel at home.
For example, before taking on a Muslim boy, my partner went to study at the local mosque to better understand his needs from the local community.
You also have lots of worries at first – will they like your pets, will they like your food?
All of this is normal and it’s a process of adjustment. Kids don’t change overnight; it takes lots of time and patience. Some of them won’t even understand why they are in foster care.
With all of that said, fostering is a huge part of our lives now and comes with incredible rewards. The kids we have are fantastic and are so keen for us to be involved in school life, which we love.
All of our family have been very supportive of our decision to foster. You really need to engage your whole family as it will impact on them and having a close network around you is great or both foster carers and children.
If you are interested in fostering a child in Milton Keynes, call 08000 356671 or visit http://www.milton-keynes.gov.uk/fostering